Chapter 18900527

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Chapter NumberIX
Chapter TitleA SON'S OATH.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18900527
Full Date1887-04-23
Page Number19
Corrections0
Word Count1538
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)
Trove TitleA Long Chase
article text

FICTION.

--:0:

From EuglUti. »medena, and olü»r. P«rl»dltal».

A LONG CHASE.

*' ' CHAPTER IX.

r, A SON*8 OATH.

For a moment the young detective stood aa if frozen. Then, with an uncertain hand, he lightod another match and held it to the gas.

The next instant he was kneeling on the floor

moaning :

««Father! father!"

The old man lay dead upon the floor.

For ten minutes, it might ho, Nick bent over the body, incoherently coaxing his father to speak to

him just once.

"Dead! dead!" he cried at last, as if the truth wasforced upon him. " Dead ! dead!" he whispered.

A sudden light, fierce and vongeful, gleamed in

hiB eye.

"Dead! Yes; but those who did it live, and

live for mo."

" Walking or sleeping, night or day, I will not rest until the brain that planned it and the hand that did it perish."

Ho said no more, but, kissing the icy lips, rose to his feet, a hard, implacable man.

Swiftly he noted everything in the room, touch , ing nothing, but examining everything with micro

, scopic gaze.

He passed into his own room, and, with the same care and calmness as if nothing had happened, rid himself of his disguise and dressed up as his own

proper person.

Filling a large valise with articles selected care- fully from his wardrobe, he returned to his father's

room.

Kneeling silently by the inanimate form lying there, he did not stir for five minutes. After that he rose, tcok up hib valise, put out the lights, and left, closing the door behind him.

Going to the first convenient hotel, he registered his name as Charles Hardman, and went at once to

his room.

He remained there only long enough to deposit bia valise, and then went out.

Not many minutes later he was usherod into the private office of Inspector Byrnes, who had sent Mr. Livingston to his father.

" I am the son of Sim Carter, the detective."

There was something in tho tone that checked the Inspector's expression of pleasure.

" You were my father's friend," went on Nick ; "and I come to you for that, as well as because you are Police Inspector."

" Was his friend ?" Am his friend." "My father is dead."

"Dead?"

" He was murdered about an hour and a half ago."

"Murdered?"

The shocked inspector rose from his chair. "Murdered hy whom ?"

" You sent the Livingston case to my father ?"

"Yes,"

"I took the case. I discovered facts of import- ance. The villains thought my father had "the case because I impersonated him. They killed him be- cause they thought he knew too much."

" But how ?"

" They had a shadow on me. I got fathor to go Out about five o'clock this afternoon. I went soon after, and was gone about two hours.

'' Father must have missed his shadow after a while and then gone home.

" The shadow followed father only a short dis- tance and then loft him, and was met by a big man

who went with him to our house.

" They got in and went up stairs to our rooms, where they picked the lock.

" The little man-the shadow-waited near the door, while fche big man waited near the mantle piece. The little man had a sand-bag, the big one

a knife.

" When father came home he didn't go to the ¿mantle for a match, as the men expected, but took one out of his pocket and stuck it befor he was far

into the room.

" Then the big man jumped at him and caught him by the throat to stop his cries. ^

" They wrestled a moment, and then 'tfic little mau hit him with the sand-bag ; but it waa daik, and the blow only partly stunned, so the big man

had to stab him to kill him.

" He fell on his face. The big man lighted the gas, and to make sure of his work hit father across the neck with the sand-bag."

The Inspector stared in horror as he listened to the son telling so minutely of his father's murder.

Nick's tone, too, though studiedly cold, was yet so intense that it made his listener shudder.

" How did you discover all this ?" he asked.

?" Marks on the front door and on the upper door told me that the locks had been picked.

" There were-marks-on the wall near the door where the hat ot the small man had rubbed.

" Some of the things on the mantle were dis tu rbed just as they would be by the elbow of a rather large man leaning there.

"The clock, too, had been pushed at the time, and it was stopped-it was a pendulum clock-at half-past five.

"The little man stiuck him first with the sand- bag for the blow -A as on the back part of the head, near the ear, and not on top as if wielded by a

large man.

"He must have been stabbed after he was stuuned, for the blow was a steady one, and not at

random as if during a struggle.

" The lost blow on the neck was by the big man, for the little man would have struck square on the back of the neck, whereas the blow(fràs was more

? i ' O * on one side, j . \

" The gas was not lighted by father, because he used a peculiar, noiseless, quick-lighting match. Such a one, put out immediately after it was lighted, ltfy under lum.

"Another match, unlike any we used, lay,' . aluioat burned, upon the carpet where it had been

thrown while still lighted.

" The little man could not hare lighted the gas, for he was too short to reach it.

" The big man wore a rough, gray coat. He has

a red mustache died black.

" I know this because under fathor's finger nails are gray woolly hairs from the coat, and in one hand was a mustache hair, dyed black, the real colour »bowing about the root.

" It had been pulled out in the first struggle.

The inspector gazod at the young man in amaze-

ment.

" I have told you all this," Nick continued, before the Inspector could speak, " because I want you to see that I am competent to attend to the affair. My father devoted his life to making me a good detec- tive. I want you to let me hunt down these men, not only the ones who struck, but the ones who planned. "Will you ?"

" Oh I can't do that. The murder must be made public, and my men must take up the case."

" Certainly, but that needn't make any difference. I want you to discover the murder accidentally, and have it treated in the regular way. Only nobody knows anything about me, and I don't want any- thing said. I need your help now, and may need it again after a while, or I would not have taxed your

kindness."

" I BUppose I can let it go that way j but what do you want me to do now."

'.Only tell Mr. Livingston that Sim Carter is "ÎèaA, and that you have put another private detec- tive oh the case. Tell him he must not say that anybody else was engaged, and assure him that his daughter will be found."

" I will do that. And now. prove to me that you are Sim Carter's son, and not his murderer."

The inspector in his heart did not doubt Nick im the least, for the resemblance to old Sim was very striking; but he was quite too wary a man to accept the statement of a stranger to him without

some proof.

Fortunately Nick was provided with the very best of proof.

When the Inspector was a young man, and while he was winning his way to his present position, ho had been a favourite with old Sim, and had shared several cases which the old detective had keen un- able to manage alone.

It that time old Sim had taught him a series of signals which were to be known to them alone. Nick knew those signals, and repeated them to the Inspector.

" I am satisfied," said the latter. " Now what more can I do for you ?"

** Nothing now, I will not fail to call upon you

when the time comes."

" Very well. I will send a man to-night to dis-

cover the murder/'

\ "¿Better wait till morning ; then no suspicion will

Ôe roused." ]

" Eight. I will -vait. Must you go ? Good-by then, and may you be successful."

" I shall succeed."

And Nick departed, leaving the Inspector to mar- vel at the extraordinary ability which enabled so young a man to discover in such trifling clues a complete picture of the tragedy.

Nor could he repress a shudder at the thought of the meaning way in which Nick said, " I shall succeed." ,

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